Texas football coach Tom Herman put together an epic recruiting class in his first season on the job. The second recruiting run was always going to be more difficult, but a resurgent Texas A&M recruiting program run by new coach Jimbo Fisher and Oklahoma’s rise after another national semifinal has exacerbated things.
All of which highlights just how important the Longhorns’ first five-star commit in the Class of 2019 really was. Tyler Johnson, an offensive tackle from Oak Ridge (Texas) High, is ranked as the No. 33 overall prospect in the class and a top-10 offensive lineman. While he’s the highest rated current member of Texas’ class, he’s the third to be ranked in the top-50 of 247 Sports’ overall standings. That ensures that the Longhorns will have a pretty solid return at the top of their class, which now ranks No. 15 in the nation, so long as all three follow through on their initial commitments.
Put that in perspective alongside the emerging classes of Texas A&M and Oklahoma, and it becomes clear that it was needed to keep the Longhorns in the conversation among the three rival schools from two different conferences. Texas A&M currently boasts the nation’s No. 3 overall class, but like Texas it has just one five-star commit (safety Brian Williams from Bishop Dunne). The Aggies’ strength comes from their depth of four-star commits. Ditto for Oklahoma, No. 2 nationally, with Allen wide receiver Theo Wease and then a cornucopia of four-stars.
Texas will have to do a lot to catch the Aggies or Sooners, but the pledge from Johnson ensures it’s still within reach if everything breaks right.
Of course, what’s equally important is that it keeps Texas’ class ahead of the other hard-charing programs in the Lone Star State. TCU is busy cobbling together another strong class anchored by a four-star QB, and Baylor, where second-year coach Matt Rhule continues to work wonders, is doing the same. Any sense of softness in the Longhorns’ efforts could lead to raids on their existing recruits and targets.
Thanks to Johnson that’s not happening yet. If he can help bring a few more players to Austin, he may even be able to help Herman maintain as much of the momentum from 2018 as possible.